Putting Microsoft Tag to meaningful use

I while back my colleague and I were discussing how far the bar code has come and how there are different kinds of bar codes and how a lot of information is being packed into those humble stripes. I had read that in Japan, advertisers put black and white matrix on posters and you can take a picture of the code using your mobile phone and get additional information or coupons for the service. People will figure our ingenious ways to put technology to good use.

I came to know the existence of Microsoft Tag via Glen Gordon. I downloaded Microsoft Tag Reader iPhone app and played with it a little. Toyed around with a few ideas and planned a project that could use it. Then I got busy at work. There is so much stuff to do at work that I find it hard to work on any of the personal projects.

This afternoon @lizasisler tweeted about Microsoft Tag and wondered how it could be used to better Health Care. We exchanged a couple of ideas.

@lizasisler: Saw @MicrosoftTag @ #WPC09 Neat printable interactive barcode technology http://www.microsoft.com/tag/ Thoughts on good #Healthcare uses?

@rsringeri: @lizasisler @MicrosoftTag have med devices display MS Tags that can be snapped with mobile app to upload to @HealthVault.

@lizasisler: @rsringeri Nice! Think there could be great @MicrosoftTag uses in Healthcare – drug/equipment uses/education etc

@rsringeri: @lizasisler agree. Instead of the paper manual in the box, put a MS Tag on the device that takes you to the device’s home page on you iPhone

@lizasisler: @rsringeri What abt using @MicrosoftTag as emergency gateway to @HealthVault information. Click on tag interact with/access HealthVault?

@rsringeri: @lizasisler emgcy access is a great idea. My @HealthVault should have a section where I can put in non-stealable data, get a tag, ….

@rsringeri: @lizasisler … snap tag from mobile device and download vital emgcy data to Healthcare prof’s device. Blood Group, diabetic, allergies

Here are some ideas for meaningful use of Microsoft Tag in Health Care

  • Medical devices like BP and Blood Glucose meters can display, in addition to numbers, an MS Tag with the data encoded. I can then whip out my MS Tag reader app on my iPhone, snap a pic and upload the data to my Health Vault repository. No cables to fumble. No PC to connect the device to. Instead of trying to make the device Internet enabled, just modify the screen to display an MS Tag. And if I happen to use multiple devices to manage my health I don’t have to buy cables for each of these devices and connect them to a computer one after another. Most device manufacturers do not bundle a cable to connect the device to a computer.
  • Instead of including product manuals, instructions with med devices, just put couple of MS Tags on the device. Whip out the Tag reader app again, snap the pic and the iPhone can now play a video demo of the device or load a PDF manual, with click enables links.
  • Enable Health Vault to create an MS Tag that encapsulates data that I decide to make available to emergency medical personnel. I could carry a MS Tag card in my wallet (or a dog tag) that can be used by medical personnel to gather vitals stats like blood group, allergy information in situations where I may be unable to communicate that info.
  • The above idea can be expanded to create a portable medical record I can carry for my visit. Prior to my doc visit, I logon to Health Vault, select a bunch of data points, export that as an MS Tag, save the tag on my iPhone, and assign an expiration date to it. At the doc’s office, the doc or other Health care personnel can “read” the encoded information using a MS Tag Reader. I don’t have to print anything nor do I have to logon to a computer at the doc’s office to make the information available.
  • Put MS Tags on medication bottles. Snap pics of all the medications and an app can figure out and warn about potential drug interactions. Couple that with data from med devices and the app can alert you – hey your blood sugar is high pop this pill from your prescription

These are just a few ideas I dumped from my brain. What’s yours? With the availability of Microsoft Tag API here, I guess it’s only a matter of time before we see some implementations.


Check out Vizitag, their blog and follow them on Twitter. Interesting applications of Microsoft Tag and bar codes.


About Ramesh Sringeri

Yet another chaos monkey. View all posts by Ramesh Sringeri

4 responses to “Putting Microsoft Tag to meaningful use

  • Stewart McKie

    Some useful ideas here. We started with the idea of a ‘999 tag’ for vulnerable people. You can find lots more ideas on our vizitag blog, site and vizitag on Twitter.

  • Ramesh Sringeri

    Stewart thanks for the lead. You guys are doing some interesting stuff

  • lhw

    what fantastic ideas! I would love if any of these were implemented, it would save time AND increase functionality. Love that! And, who doesn’t want another iPhone app, lol. But seriously, these are outstanding and useful recommendations that I would love to use with my HealthVault account.

    • Ramesh Sringeri

      I did ping @HealthVault with a idea of allowing Health Vault to create Microsoft Tag and they indicated that they would follow up with the dev team. Team Health Vault is very responsive and plugged into the community. Healthcare is *BIG* and everyone wants a piece of it.

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